He was educated in Dungannon and at the Queen"s University Belfast.
Between 1964 and 1972 he was the Nationalist Party Stormont Member of Parliament for East Tyrone. On 20 June 1968, with others including mediator Father Tom Savage, he began a protest about discrimination in housing allocation by "squatting" (illegally occupying) in a house in Caledon. Emily Beattie was given the house ahead of older married Catholic families with children.
Though Ms Beattie had been, unlike the Catholic family, on the waiting list for a property.
The protesters were evicted by officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), one of whom was Emily Beattie"s brother. The next day the annual conference of the Nationalist Party unanimously approved of the protest action by Austin Currie in Caledon.
This was one of the catalysts of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. He became an active member in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.
In 1974 he became chief whip of the Social Democratic and Labour Party. That same year he became Minister for Housing, Local Government and Planning in the Northern Ireland Executive.
He contested the 1979 United Kingdom general election and 1986 by-election in the Fermanagh and South Tyrone seat. He also was elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1982 for the same seat. He came third in the election after Mary Robinson and Brian Lenihan.
In the Rainbow Coalition between 1994 and 1997 he became Minister of State at the Departments of Education, Justice and Health.
At the 2002 general election he lost his seat in Dáil Éireann when he failed to be elected in Dublin Mid–West. He immediately announced his retirement from politics.
He currently resides in County Kildare, where he trains greyhounds. He occasionally lectures and gives talks on issues relating to the Troubles.
Austin Currie, "All Hell Will Break Loose," O"Brien Press, Dublin, 2004.
By 1989, Currie had decided to move south, and at the general election of that year he was elected as a Fine Gael Teachta Dála for the Dublin West constituency. In 1990, after much procrastination, Fine Gael nominated him as a candidate at the presidential election.
1st Northern Ireland Assembly (1982). 1st Northern Ireland Assembly (1973–1974)]
From 1973 to 1974 Currie was a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.